By Madhieu Thiep Madhieu, Juba, South Sudan
February 23, 2017 (SSB) — The government of South Sudan as well as army general headquarters has been experiencing sequence and unofficial resignations and defections of senior government officials for no genuine reasons. I called it unofficial resignations because most of these officials who abandon allegiance did not formally submit their letters of resignation personally to authority concern but sent they sent them to media.
Last week, General Thomas Cirillo, Deputy chief of staff, and head of military justice quitted their positions and joined Riek’s faction accusing the government of ethnic bias and dominant of SPLA by particular tribe, citing favoritism, land grabbing and corruption as their major reasons of leaving jobs. Another Brig. Gen who had been in charge of Logistic support in SPLA General HQRS and a former Sudan Army force loyalist defected this week, and blames country administration falsely of mismanagement and bias policies.
All these accusations are absolutely baseless and aim at tarnishing the image of our President as well as our beloved South Sudan. If there were some mistakes or corruption in the administration then these defected generals were part and parcel of such irregularities. For Example Gen Thomas Cirillo is reported by some online news agency that his and her sister accounts, have been frozen by Kenya authority with 10 million dollars, apart from wife’s account.
So, this is a huge embezzlement and GEN.THOMAS HAD FORGETTEN TO MENTION IN HIS RESIGNATION THAT HE HAD LOTTED ENOUGH FROM KIIR GOVERNMENT. He should have brought this money back to the country if he doesn’t want to involve in corruption scandal. This cash could have been used to purchase food items to feed thousand of the affected families in part of our country, which needs our collectively support. But he just decided to embezzle this amount for his richness.
The unnecessary resignations and defections have been adopted by Riek’s faction and his western allies as a mechanism and only strategy to weaken and topple the current regime. So, does it mean that resignation and defection remains the only available option to regime change? I think this traditional believe will not hold water in our country. Change will never be brought via resignation and defection unless through peaceful and democratic means where every citizen shall exercise his/her right without bloodshed.
I recommend at this move, the President should reshuffle the national army to avoid this culture of resigning and defecting. New generals who are loyal and patriotic to our country, should be assign and long serving generals to get retired or else join politics if they are willing. Before it is never too late, President Salva Kiir should act now to make major changes in the army sector so that we see who will follow Gen Thomas’s groups. Reshuffling the army will restore patriotism and respect of the country laws.
Gen Cirillo and his defectors statements are divisive and clearly incited violent, tribalism, hatred and encouraged target killing of innocent people of a particular ethnicity. It is unfortunate that these defectors could not understand what it meant to be patriotic and loyal to one’s country. If people like Thomas who had played a role in liberation struggle still talk of domination of the army by one tribe, while during SPLA civil war he was commending huge number of Dinkas soldiers and never complaint. He fought numerous battles in 21 years war with Khartoum with majority of Dinka forces alongside him but hadn’t one day protested against Dinka being majority in war zones.
I want to tell these defectors, that joining army is a personal willingness that has nothing to do with ethnic representation or diversity for that matter. These betrayers (Generals) served in the army for many years, but have failed to mobilize and recruit more soldiers from their respective tribesmen to join national army. There is no point here to blame President Kiir because the army belongs to all of us and any interested citizen is free to join SPLA without any conditions.
In conclusion, resigning and defecting would not help address our problems, but instead it will increase hatred and boost tribalism in our societies. We must accept that the current turmoil our country is undergoing shouldn’t be put on President Kiir’s neck, but all of us are involve in this sufferings. I sincerely pray that the habit of quitting and run to the bush inherited by these generals shall stop with immediate effect, so that peace and stability is finally achieved.
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